Having a strong digital presence for your restaurant will have a direct effect on revenue. Customers tend to visit your website before deciding to dine in or order out and because of this, you need to ensure that your menu is strategically organised and crafted to communicate the uniqueness of your restaurant and to maximise revenue.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of having an online menu and ways you can optimise them to increase restaurant sales.
Benefits of having an online menu
Food for thought
Consumers have so much choice, that in order to keep on top in the hospitality industry, you need to be offering not just a great meal experience but a streamlined ordering service. Think about it – at peak times in a busy café or restaurant, Friday or Saturday night and the place is buzzing. Staff are trying to seat customers, take orders, sort out payments, package up take outs, clear down tables ready for the next wave of people, and all the while, the noise makes it difficult to hear the telephone order you have just picked up or deal with the queue of people, because the person at the front cannot find their wallet or card to make a payment.
At the same time, you are paying staff wages, the cost of which takes up the majority of your outgoings, so you have to find a system that can help run your food outlet as efficiently as possible. Think about all the time wasted – as staff move back and forth from customer to kitchen, taking the orders, going back to deliver the food, then back to clear the tables and then take the payments. While an online system won’t clear the dirty pots and pans away, moving to an online menu will save crucial time and money, as well as increase the efficiency and consumer experience, while on your premises. It will also give you invaluable data on your customers’ preferences and access to contact details, to promote your business further and build brand loyalty.
Online menus speed up the ordering process
Time taken to answer telephone orders, especially during a busy lunch hour or evening shift, is a bugbear. Not only can it be difficult sometimes to hear what the person wants to order, but often they will be taking orders from family and friends while you and your staff have to wait while they make their mind up. In the meantime, other customers in house feel ignored or have to wait to be served.
Instead, think about being able to process orders because the customer has accessed your online menu. Staff can be serving others, check the online order and process it at the touch of a button. Even if customers are in-house, they can order their meal via a phone or tablet without having the staff member wait around while they make their choice. The order would go straight to the kitchen, no errors on the staff part, and they would deliver it to the table (or take out counter) when it is ready. Efficient use of staff time means that rota’s can be reviewed only to have the optimum number of employees in which helps to reduce staffing costs.
Less errors less food waste
Misheard orders, or confusion on both sides means that food does get sent back to the kitchen, which is a cost to the business. With an online menu, it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure they get their order correct, and therefore are responsible for the full payment.
Prepaid orders mean never having to worry about whether take-out customers are going to turn up and pay. Full details of dishes including information on ingredients also means there is clarity of any special requests or changes to set dishes, as the consumer has placed the order through the online menu. Shrinkage (loss to the business) decreases which boosts the profit and customers get just what they ordered, so a bonus all round.
Ways to optimise online menu to maximise revenue
Integrate with other online ordering platforms
Brand loyalty has already been mentioned as one of the benefits to an online menu system and there are ways in which to maximise your takings by optimising this approach. Just having your own website where a customer goes to place an order is not enough, as you have to utilise your online menu with other social media and online ordering platforms to draw in the browsing consumer. There are a number of providers (Deliveroo, Just Eat/Menulog etc) and the online traffic they generate is one you need to harness so that people will click onto your Order Now button.
Showcase your best sellers
Your point of sale system will allow you to see which of your products are the best sellers, along with those that bring in a higher profit margin. Use these data analytics for your online menu with high quality photographs of Chef’s Dish of the Day or other seasonal best sellers. You can then prioritise what your customer sees on the online menu, and they can be steered towards ordering what you have highlighted.
Promote secondary selling techniques online
No one likes a hard sell but there are ways that you can attract a customer’s interest and they will purchase more than they set out to do. Often. it is because they are not aware of all the products and dishes on offer, so use the online menu to upsell products that people don’t buy without any additions.
For example, if ordering a steak online, there should be a pop up of side orders that will complement the meat dish. The add-on button should include a number of side orders along with dips or sauces which help to boost sales.
Allow the customer to customise their order, they will feel they are being treated as an individual and buy into the brand. You can do this by having a ‘Customise’ button on the online menu which relates to the dishes that offer additions.
For example, burgers can come with a variety of toppings from cheese to gherkins, mustard or you can offer options on a vegan or vegetarian burger. If someone has allergies or food intolerance again the information provided on the online menu will allow them to make an informed choice, but you can also let them order with their own preferences. Different levels of spiciness in foods or removal of a standard dressing will be noted and you can use their ordering preferences to send them details of special events/dishes etc they have shown interest in.
If you’re interested in creating or optimising your online menu, and opening up your business to online sales, and takeaway and delivery functionality, speak to our friendly and experienced team here at Abacus. We are currently providing our Online Ordering platform with NO upfront cost and $0 ongoing monthly fees on top of your regular Abacus POS subscription. The only additional cost to you is a small 5% transaction fee.
Submit your interest here or email us at email@example.com and our product specialists will reach out to you to discuss how we can help your business in these tough times. Alternatively, give us a call on (03) 9017 2792.